What is success?

Am I successful?  I guess the answer to this question comes from what you define success as, is it money, power, happiness, position.  Looking at all of the different parts of what my life has been the past few years I would say that I am pretty successful it parts of my life, and want to start working on other parts.  I started doing some of this work when I was in my first trimester.  Dissecting the areas of my life that I felt were succeeding and fixing the areas that weren’t.  This wasn’t an easy process but I want to walk you through my discovery of my personal definition of success now.

In 2015 I finally started ‘adulting’.  Yes, I know the whole marriage thing was supposed to kick that off, and it did but I knew I was letting a lot of things slip.  So I started going to the doctor to figure out what was wrong with me.  It wasn’t normal to hurt everyday, and be exhausted all the time, and the multitude of other things wrong with me.  After a lot of “please test me for more things” I finally got a kernel of information that my immune system was messed up.  So after more doctors and more tests I discovered that  I was one of the lucky people who had the markers for an autoimmune disorder without any actual autoimmune disease.  Which is lucky I guess.  This allowed me to get on some medication to help with the pain and I was started to be able to function without being in pain every step.  It was glorious.

Then near the end of 2015 my husband and I decided we wanted to move out of Peoria.  We weren’t sure of the timeline, but we had decided to start a family and we knew it was important to have the little one raised around family.  By the time 2016 rolled around we had started looking for jobs but with the way family medical leave works and maternity leave we decided to wait until after the little one was born to make the move. This was hard because at this time both my husband and I were unhappy at our jobs.  We weren’t connecting to them anymore, and we found ourselves dreading going into work everyday.  Not speaking for him, but for me I felt stuck.  The state budget had basically locked down my program, and I found myself doing less of the program I loved and doing more just to stay busy.  I wasn’t happy and I am pretty sure anyone who spent two minutes talking to me at work recognized that as well.  But I needed to make it work, after all I was “successful” I was running my own program that I had been doing since out of grad school, I was part of city-wide initiative to integrate social service agencies, and I had even been asked to speak at meetings in Chicago due to the success of collaboration between myself and other agencies.  But none of this mattered, I felt utterly useless going into work and just defeated leaving work.

So despite this I made priorities and redefined my outlook.  It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing, but it was paying bills, and the insurance was keeping me from drowning in medical bills (having babies is expensive). I knew that the PTO at this job would mean that I could basically take 6 partially paid and 6 full paid weeks of maternity leave.  I was set, so if I just redefined my role and  changed my perspective of work than it would be ok.  And it was, this job allowed me the freedom to attend my doctors appointments, and to relax when my feet decided to balloon up to the size of grapefruits and at the time that was what I needed to work.

However, this all adjusted my mindset for what success was.  Since on paper I was “successful” in my job yet it didn’t feel that way.  Than clearly I needed to adjust my definition of success.  So I started looking towards the future for success.  With this I started to plan for the future.  I donated more to my retirement plan through work (mental note reminder I need to get that merged into my current retirement plan).  I started pushing money into my savings whenever possible and then a fortuitous thing happened.  A good friend of mine left her job and joined a company that was entirely meant to help people plan for the future and set themselves up for success.  Initially I met with my friend as a trial and test thing for her but when getting the information it was actually really beneficial so I decided with a “hmm maybe this is a legitimate thing I should be looking into.  So we did.  And with many signatures later we had a plan to protect ourselves and our future.  FYI the underwriters for our insurance required more information than the underwriters for our house, and yes this did entirely surprise me.

I started defining success with what I was doing to plan for the future.  When I started doing this, work became easier. I knew it wasn’t my end all job but it was helping me plan for the future, it was the responsible choice to be making.  I wasn’t getting any reward at this moment, but by meaning with a financial planner and life insurance it helped me feel like I was “adulting” correctly.  Then once the baby was born (look at my blog about everything that has happened since then What a crazy hectic time it’s been…) success was measured completely differently.

I am so glad that while I was pregnant we started developing good habits, clean up before going to bed, make the bed in the morning, regular grocery shopping.  Because it has been easier to adapt and feel like I have kept everything together.  I am really good on routines, and because of the habits we started before he was born I think overall we adjusted pretty well.  I mean not going to lie post baby hormones are an evil thing because I definitely sobbed on the couch because he wouldn’t take a nap and all I wanted to do was shower. But things have settled and now that when we are in our own place I feel good.  I feel successful.  It was a weird thing as I write in a blog about success that even doing this more regularly is part of that.

Once life started settling down and we were forming our own routines in our own home, it was easy to see what my new definition of success was.  It didn’t matter how much money I was making because I loved my new job.  It didn’t matter the number of material objects we owned as long as what we owned made us happy. It didn’t matter what I did with my time, as long as what I was doing was bringing me joy and not hurting others.  My definition of success now is that I am living each day trying to make the best of it.  I don’t strive for the perfect life, because perfection isn’t realistic.  I just find my life pretty successful knowing that life is pretty freaking awesome right now.  And even when exhausted, I know its success because I wouldn’t change a bit of (well that’s not true, I would always accept more coffee).

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As I am trying to do games I played this weekend included: Potion Explosion, Legendary, Mansions of Madness, Karuba, Arcadia Quest, Clank, Harry Potter Battle of Hogwarts, and 7 wonders.

Game review: Harry Potter Battle of Hogwarts – I bought this game mainly because I am a fanatic about the original Harry Potter series.  So when I was lucky enough to find this 50% off after Christmas this year I picked it up.  Knowing that at least I would play it with a couple of my other HP fans.  I expected it to be like most licensed games and be honestly quite awful.  But to my complete surprise it has actually been really good.  It thematically is pretty great and it actually plays very similar to Legendary or Sentinals of the MultiVerse.  You play a character you buy cards and beat up evil death eaters.  It is a pretty smooth game, the roles are similar to any other deck builder and the flavor is great because it works and doesn’t feel disingenuous to the source material.  The game is broken out between the 7 books with an expansion incoming (I may or may not purchase it).  So far we are through book three, despite Draco and Lucius doing their best to end us.  It was pretty great and probably one we will continue to pick up over the game weekends.  Will definitely play again.

~~~

Until next time go listen Josh Groban’s cover of Evermore from Beauty and the Beast

~Reave~

Not your average board games

Once you graduate college it becomes necessary to set aside time to hang out with your friends you met during school.  This became a quarterly weekend away at our friends house or them down visiting us.  Initially it started off with computer games and all things digital with a few board games sprinkled in for good measure.  The likes of Catan or Ticket to Ride being the adventurous board gamers that we were.  As time has moved on, our board game collections have grown.  As a result the weekends became mostly board games with (maybe) a tiny bit of computer gaming thrown in.  People have come and gone but now it is about four of us who get together for these game weekends.  Maybe one of the days we have extra people over but those tend to get to big to fast and I end of having my nerves shot by the end and I become very cranky.

This weekend is one of these board game weeks and I am so excited.  Last time we saw them they helped us move in to our place and this time with our pipsqueak a little older we get to hang out with them again.  We have a fifth person joining the ranks (my brother) and we have more games than could ever dream to be played in a single weekend but we try to get through as many as possible.  This made me think of how many board games I do own and that not nearly as many get played as often as they should.  So I started making a list of games and they all got entered into the BoardGameGeek site so I could keep track.  Yes, I am close to 100, and yes it does bother me that it isn’t quite 100 yet, I will get there once my Kickstarters come in, don’t worry.  So I wanted to start keeping track, figuring out which ones I love, ranking them, and making sure all of them get their fair share of play time.  So part of this plan is to start describing a game  I have played recently.  As well as letting you know which ones I have played recently.  So I will do my best to keep track of everything played this weekend, not all of the ones we will play our mine.  This way if anyone has any suggestions of key games we are missing in our collection they can let me know.

Hopefully, pipsqueak cooperates and takes his names regularly to make this weekend a little more smoothly (which means he probably will be a sourpuss).

Also exciting I am doing my first ever Escape Room.  I have always wanted to do one of these and just discovered they have them in my area I was overly excited when I found this out.  I love point and click escape flash games so hopefully my experience with those translates somehow to success in real life versions.  We will find out.

Games played this week:  :59 seconds and ERS (Egyptian Rat Screw/Slap)

Review of the week: :59 seconds is a game that I got on clearance at Target and thought hmm, its two player that is handy and picked it up for less than 5 dollars.  In reality I wouldn’t have needed to buy the game because it was just a re-skinned version of the basic card game Speed with a nice 59 second timer. The timer while pointless because I don’t know how anyone would empty their hand in under a minute served as a nice stylistic option for the game.  Although I cant help but wonder how much that drove up the cost of this simple game because of custom timed sand timers for 59 seconds.  Just like speed you tried to empty your hand and reserve pile by placing cards that are one up or one lower than the cards in the two face up piles.  It is pretty simple.  However, the timer matters in regards to score.  Completely empty your hand in under a minute get 10 points, successfully empty your hand in general 5 points.  First to 50 points wins.  Overall, it was a nice looking game but if you have a deck of cards you can set a timer on your phone for the same effect. Would play again because it is a good way to teach basic numbers to little kids but I may give it to my nephews to play (without the timer).


Until next time listen to the soundtrack to the live action Beauty and the Beast I was impressed.

~Reave

 

 

Why is ice cream so darn tasty?

I am not one of those people who can say “I’ve always been a bigger girl”.  If you look at pictures of me prior to high school I was thin, I liked my waist line, and despite the distinct lack of any curve because of my age I look back at that time and go “what the heck happened.”

In reality I know what happened, my mood tanked and my friendships disappeared.  At the end of elementary school and into middle school I started getting bullied by people who used to be my friends.  They became cruel and I found myself very alone.  I had a few good friends who I still love to this day but to be the teased by people you hung out with in the previous year was hard.  Since I wasn’t hanging out with anyone I stayed inside and I watched tv and I ate junk food and that is how I coped with how miserable I was at school.  As I went into highschool things started to get better for a while.  I got heavily involved with a youth church (that my parents probably would still say is a cult, it wasn’t I promise).  I started to feel accepted and as much as they disliked some of them, at least I felt safe with them.  I saw them once a week they went to a different school I didn’t worry about being teased or bullied on the latest social media page that existed.

At highschool it wasn’t too bad I made some friends and I was getting involved in several clubs.  But it still felt off and that’s because what I found out was that people were being cruel behind my back and I was just a joke to a lot of them.  When highschool was hitting junior year people who were my friends decided I wasn’t good enough and I became the target of fake Xanga pages (that was the social  media of its time).  These pages were cruel and probably still exist somewhere on the web if  I ever wanted to travel down the dark and twisty rabbit hole that it was.  During this time when it was so bad that every post went after me I stopped caring, I 100% believed that didn’t matter anymore so I ate more.  It didn’t help that at this time my relationship was less than stellar and I felt like why care about anything because I wasn’t worth it.

This lasted for a while until senior year when the idea of graduating and starting over finally became something clear and visible and I was ready to jump at it.  So I did the first attempt at a diet.  In reality it was me starving myself.  I didn’t eat close to what I should have been eating.  I skipped meals I kept my energy up with caffeine and quick bursts of sugar.  I was “counting” calories but not doing so in any way that was sustainable.  I dropped weight quick but would eventually be so hungry that being light-headed would cause me to sugar binge which made me feel worse.  As soon as I started to eat normally again I gained every pound back that I lost and then some.

Going into freshman year I was finally out of the toxic relationship and I wanted to start fresh but it wasn’t so easy.  I was sad all the time, if I wasn’t sad I was terrified and anxious that everyone I met would turn against me just like they did in highschool.  I started meeting new people and became part of a peer-ed group that I loved.  But people started disappearing, I was feeling lost that people I had grown lose too were all of a sudden parts of different clicks just because of how the peer-ed group broke itself out of its box.  But I continued to try to keep myself healthy, it wasn’t really working but I was a firm believer in the fake it until you make it model of thinking. On the very big plus side I met my  husband and he started making me feel like I mattered and that was probably the greatest thing he could have given me.

As sophomore year hit I made a huge change.  I switched my diet to  a vegetarian diet and it wasn’t actually hard to do.  I had pretty much quit eating red meat a long time ago so I just had to give up chicken and sea food and I had a roommate that was already eating vegetarian and helped me switch.  Things were great, I was feeling healthier, I had started watching what I was eating again and this time counting calories within a healthy limit and was losing weight in a good way.  I felt good, I was getting to the gym regularly I was working, I felt like I was finding my place in my peer-ed group, but then my roommate decided that I wasn’t her friend anymore.  I still don’t know what happened there and I know she had her own stuff going on, but it sucked.  They started destroying my stuff, making fun of me, and writing on my stuff that I should kill myself.  Everything had been going so well but when I had to pack up and move out of a dorm room and on to the futon of a sorority house that I wasn’t a member of, it was hard to keep everything going.  I started calling in to work more, I stopped caring about eating healthy, and I basically stopped caring so again all of the weight went right back on.

When I got engaged that was the first big motivation to start making those choices for myself again.  I finally had figured out the good and bad of the peer-ed group.  I loved them a lot but I definitely let it screw with my psyche a lot, so I separated it out.  I stopped taking every bit of it in, I didn’t have to socialize with person x just because we share the same t-shirt logo.  When I started doing that I felt better, I was taking more control.  I decided to join weight watchers during grad school and my plan was lose weight for the wedding, and I did.  I lost 10% of my starting weight with lots of plateaus, and struggles and numbers going up and down each week.  I was feeling good, I felt like this was attainable, but there was a slight issue, what would happen after the wedding.  I was ignoring this fact, and it was a huge negative that I never came up with my reason to continue losing weight after the wedding.  Once the wedding was done, my reason to keep the weight off passed and I stopped keeping the weight off.  I put on the weight and then some.

At this point it was frustrating even when I was eating well I still felt awful.  I started feeling awful all of the time, there were more days I felt sick and in pain than days I didn’t.  Despite eating healthy I wouldn’t lose weight, I hurt all the time, and my depression was starting to kick up in full force again.  So finally I started going to the doctor and they ran a bunch of tests.  After probably 20 different viles of blood overall I finally started getting some answers and that felt good.  I was extremely Vitamin D deficient so they started giving me some more of that for my system and they discovered that my immune system was acting wonky.  Basically my immune system was attacking itself, my AnA was indicating some autoimmune reaction and that allowed them to give a direction and I started attending more doctors and getting answers and treatment.  Its amazing when you stop hurting everyday how everything starts to look a little easier.  I will have to go back eventually and get another panel done because they will always want to monitor my immune system but at least I know that it’s not just me sucking its my immune system being a little jerk.

About 6 months after I got that diagnoses I decided to start the greatest trip ever and was pregnant.  During the pregnancy I found a way to eat that worked for me.  I was eating small things every couple of hours and I felt great.  I didn’t gain a whole lot and actually lost weight the first few months of the pregnancy.  I just needed to keep it up after the baby was born, and for the most part I did.  With breast-feeding I have to consume a lot, which I struggle to do.  Fruits and veggies are just not high caloric foods.  I decided to join Weight Watchers for that extra push.  This time I have been doing well, I track my food which is good, but I actually eat and feel good.  I had lost the first 6 weeks of the process and gained only once which I expected, cupcakes are not a great way to get your points in for the day.  I feel really good and my reason to be healthy and get the weight off is easy and permanent.  My reason is my pipsqueak.  I want to be able to show him what healthy eating looks like, what body confidence looks like.  I want to be able to play with him outside without tiring him out, and I want him to want to play outside with me.

Overall, my weight loss journey has been so tied in with my mood;I know when I get stressed I don’t eat and when I want to hunker down and live in the grey and depressed state of existence that those bags of cheese puffs would be my best friend.  But I have to stop expecting and planning for those stressed and depressed times.  I need the skills to handle them but I can’t give up because I may get kicked in the face with a bad couple days.  This isn’t going to be easy, and I am sure I will want to pull my hair out when I plateau yet again.  But my reason, my why, this time around is long-term.

Now off to eat my first round of fruit for the day.  Enjoy

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Should I eat the kiwi or the mango?

Until next time, go listen to some Disney music, everything is better with Disney music.

~Reave

 

I want a timeturner

That is a lie, I don’t actually want a time turner but I do want more time.  I feel like life is constantly on a scattered schedule and I wish I could get a grasp on parts of it.  In the process of getting a new house, new jobs, pretty much new everything I feel like there isn’t much time to just sit. But even though it is chaotic I wouldn’t change any of it because its also so much fun.

Being back where I grew up is amazing.  Not because of the being on my old stomping grounds, but because I am buy my family.  I get to make birthday cakes for nephews and have celebrations at our house.  I get to have my kiddo grow up around his cousins and one set of grandparents.  I get to have him go everyday and play with someone who loves him unconditionally and I don’t have the additional worry of wondering what latest cold he will pick up from a daycare.

With all that I do love being home, its not easy.  I think when we moved back everyone was worried what my husband would be doing, how would he get out to meet people, who would he be hanging out with.  He quickly found a game group and I was left wondering what to do with my time.  Most of my friends that I kept in contact with aren’t here they left, and  I have a hard time finding people with similar interests.  Not so easy to be like, “hey do you like board games and video games, and harry potter and all things pretty much similarly in the nerd spectrum”.  Most people give me that blank stare when I talk about my interests.  BUT I am trying, I force myself to go eat in the cafeteria/break room instead of the safety of my little office space.  I engage in conversation, and hopefully one of these days I will catch someone talking about their latest game of Lord of Waterdeep and how it all came down to that last turn (one can hope right).

~~~~~

but back on to the topic of wanting more time.  I want to be able to get all the things I want to get done while not missing any of my little monsters milestones.  I love working, I love my job but I find myself worried that I will be the one missing his first steps and when he starts to crawl.  I know for myself I wouldn’t be able to be a stay at home mom.  I don’t have the personality for that and it wouldn’t make me a healthy individual.  But I wish I could have it all.  I wish I had the energy and the time to spend with him where I am not tired, to work and not be thinking about how he is feeling or if he was fussy for my mom.  I am sure it gets easier but I definitely am having those blink and I might miss him grow up fears.

To help myself with some of this I bring him with me when I run errands.  Its not the most practical and I know that I could get things done way more if I ran to Target without him, but that’s my time with him.  He is giggling in the cart and flirting with the cashiers or he is snuggling up on my shoulder as I carry him because he was so over being in that carseat.  He comes to Weight Watchers with me every Saturday because he is my reason to stick with this whole healthy living thing.   I don’t want to miss anything, and I am sick of hurting when I sit on the floor to play with him.  Work is one thing, income and keeping a roof over his head and clothes on his back are kind of an important parental task.  But I refuse to miss things because I hurt to much, or I don’t want to go out because I feel “fat”.

This weight journey is difficult and I want more time in the day because I want to be able to have enough time to feel like going for a walk isn’t taking away from my time with him.  But I think my weight journey may be a whole other article.

If someone can figure out that whole time turner thing without the dangerous plot holes and issue with changing the timeline and altering it immeasurably thing, that would be great.  Or maybe just freezing time so I can go for a walk and then not miss a single thing (except the dirty diapers I will gladly miss those).

Until next time go listen to Ed Sheerans new album because its amazing.

~Reave~

Where does all the time go???

I feel like I ask myself some version of this question every single day.  Where did the day go, where did the night go, where did the weekend go, how is it already 9pm, AHHH!!!

One of the hardest things to get adjusted to after the baby (besides the exhaustion) has been the lack of free time.  Granted this has been compounded by the addition of moving and new house and all that enjoyment, but it still feels like I have more time doing things that I have to do and very little time to do things I want to do.

Since the baby was born I have been in constant mommy mode, which is amazing and I love it.  But I realized that 5 months after he was born, besides work and errands to the store I had not been out of the house except for one time to have coffee with a friend.  My only role was being a mom, and I had lost all identity by anything else.  I didn’t feel like a spouse, a friend, I didn’t feel like anything other than mom.  So this started me trying to do something, so I started talking again in my Line App groups and tried calling friends and scheduling trips to see one another.  I even tried to set up a date night where my mom would watch the pipsqueak so we could see a movie, I started trying to feel more like a whole person and less like a dairy cow.  However, because I started doing this all at the same time I got really excited all at the same time, so when one thing toppled out of place it was hard to keep everything else going.

Trying to set up a date night with a 5 1/2 month old is hard to do, because you can’t mess up their bedtime and you don’t want to inconvenience family.  So when my seemingly free afternoon suddenly got an end of the day appointment I had to cancel date night.  This hurt more than it should have, but I was so excited to be a couple again that when it couldn’t happen I felt defeated.  Hubs did his best to have an in-home date night, but it was hard to get my mood back up and I knew I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have.

There is no handbook for how to start feeling like a whole person again, your entire world shifts and  trying to place it back into a new alignment is difficult.  I still don’t feel like myself, I feel happy and overall amazing but sometimes it is jarring to think that life is so amazingly different, but different none the less.

But it is important to find time, we ended up being able to do a morning-date over the weekend and that helped but I realized that trying to force a big date night like we had pre-baby means that if one thing on the precarious schedule of having an infant topples you set yourself up for disappointment.  So in the past couple weeks we have found time in small ways, and it has started to make me feel more like a spouse again, and that we are coming together as more than just mom/dad.  We have started playing board games, and watching movies again.  We are investing in things we can do together.  Playing a board game after we put the little one to bed, may not be the best use of our time in regards to productivity around the house but it is the best use of time for us as  a couple.

I have been investing in good games for two players, ones that shrink down well and ones that are two player only.  So far I have had some great success and been lucky in regards to sales.  So far 7 wonders duel is a good shrunk down version of its main game.  Other ones I think scale down well are smash up and ascension.  Now only if there was a better 2-player version Catan I would be a happy gamer.

I am still very much struggling with how to come to terms with the new status quo.  I still don’t feel like I am me, and I have a different entirety than what I had pre baby.  I am still adjusting to the fact that I probably wont feel ownership over myself for sometime.  But I am starting/trying to get control over other parts of my life.

I may be a mom but that’s not my only identifier.  Now its finding the time to be a great mom and great every other label that I choose to have.  Until next time go listen to some Ed Sheeran or The Weeknd and have a great time.

~Reave

What a crazy hectic time it’s been…

So last time I was on here it was pre-baby and well I am happy to report our little boy is already 5 months old and its amazing to watch him grow and learn and experience all these new things.

So while overall I think the collective consensus of 2016 was that most everyone couldn’t wait for the year to be over, after a general feeling of ick and ugh filled the year. While I understand the ick and the ugh I wouldn’t take or skip 2016 for anything.  It was 2016 that we found out we were having a little one it was 2016 when we made the decision to move back to where I grew up.  It was 2016 that brought on new employment opportunities, and it was 2016 that brought probably the crazy four months I will ever experience in my life.  So lets do a bit of a run down for you.

September 13th:  Went into work already 4 days overdue and so sick of being pregnant.  At approximately 2pm I was like hmmm that hurt maybe I am actually having a contraction.  I text the lovely husband about maybe having one.  Then an hour passes and I could definitely tell I was having one, and I text him something along the lines, “hey you might want to come get me I am pretty sure I am having contractions”.  Then the contractions didn’t gradually get closer together it was like slam every ten minutes apart.  By the time we reached the hospital which is maybe 5 minutes from my work my contractions were consistently 8-10 minutes apart.  Then the worst thing happened I had lovely back labor.  I feel sorry for anyone before me and any one after me who experiences this because it was excruciating.  There was no breathing through it, no relaxing, every time it happened I felt both like I was going to be sick and pass out.  I am pretty sure I was not a nice person to the labor and delivery nurse who condescendingly asked me on a scale of 1-10 the pain and I said 10 she said well a 10 is like if you get your arm ripped off and I very not so nicely encouraged her to take my arm instead because I wanted the dang epidural.  After the epidural things were good was able to even challenge the lovely husband to a round of Ascension on my phone.  At about 10:30pm I went into the lovely active labor it starts to hurt and be exhausting even with the epidural part and at 11:55pm our son was born.

Well that starts the hectic part of the rest of the year, I don’t have exact dates for the rest but you will soon understand why I wasn’t able to keep track of all of that.

Husband eventually went back to work and I was on baby duty, I don’t do well cooped up, our son hates naps, he did when he was a newborn and to this day he still does, so I was exhausted.  We were at this time not supplementing with any formula so feeding was entirely up to me at this point.  Plus doctors say don’t give pacifiers and don’t bottle feed for the first month or so, well he hates the pacifier for the most part, but it was a life saver even if the doctors wouldn’t have been happy about it.

New Job #1 (September): Well a couple week back to work and hubs successfully landed a new job at a new company, that one of the best people we know works at, that allowed him to work remotely.  And with luck it was enough to justify that we start the move back to where I was from.  So with some quick turnaround and the amazing help of my mother who drove down several times a week we packed up our entire townhome.  (

Moving Part 1 (October): Well moving was a several part task, hubs had to fly out for a week to do all of the official trainings and signatures and instead of me being in the partially packed townhome for a week by myself we decided to back what me and the baby would need for an entire week.  With this being packed separately we also made sure that almost everything was packed so that when he returned we could move the rest of the stuff.  So once his last day of work at his job came we packed up the car with the clothes the cats and the baby and we moved in with my parents.  During the next week while I took the little one to pediatrician appointments and attended my own doctors appointments (which was now an hour and fifteen minutes away) my mother would stay at the townhome and continue to pack. *and yes I know how much of a wonderful and amazing person she is for doing this*

New Job #2 (October): While packing I was on the floor sorting through a pile of stuff to be packed, donated or thrown in the trash when my phone rang.  I had interviewed for a counseling position at the end of September.  Knowing that I didn’t have a start day of November because I wanted to be off at least 8 weeks for maternity leave I wasn’t expecting a call right away.  So when I got the informal offer I was so excited and quickly hopped online and filled out the required paperwork to make the offer official.  This meant that I was able to have a position and we wouldn’t have to have a time surviving off only one income.

Moving Part 2 (October):  When hubs got back from his training, the next morning we drove on down, picking up a 22 ft uhaul on the way because apparently they tell you where to pick it up even if order it in one specific city.  Fun fact living in a state that no one wants to live in means that people move out and take the availability of trucks with them.  After some serious tetris maneuvering we had are entire townhome backed we said goodbye to another two amazing people who we love so much and moved everything into a storage unit in our new home town.

Mortgage/House hunting (November):  Because we had both gotten new jobs, I had recently had very erratic income because of maternity leave (aka PTO and part time disability) we were expecting to go into meetings for a mortgage with a “you need to be working at your jobs for three months” response.  Luckily we were able to get approved with little to know issues (underwriting is fun…although not as bad as an experience as others have had).  After getting preapproved we started working with a realtor and in one weekend and probably twenty houses we found the perfect house for us.  After some deliberation and some handholding by the realtor we made an offer on the house.  If you have never made an offer on a house I suggest 100% working with both a mortgage broker and really good realtor, because they made the buying process so much easier.  With some back and forth we came to an agreement and then the inspections started happening and things were popping up.  This is where it got complicated they fought on everything, and then we would have to push back and there was a certain point where we had to hope that they would stop being so stubborn and fix things or we were going to have to rescind our offer (luckily they did what their realtor told them and fixed the things that needed fixed eventually).  So with the offer on the table all we had to do was wait.

Closing on our house (December):  Buying a house involves a lot of numbers, from everything to credit scores, closing costs, to that pesky loan you paid late once 5 years ago because you forgot to set up automatic billing.  When we finally closed on our house I think my face lost color the first time the dollar sign numbers went out because I knew roughly what I was putting down so when I was told a different number to bring to the closing I thought that was added on.  Yes I almost started crying, yes it had to be explained several different times, and yes it did take several seconds/minutes to calm back down.  So if you work with a mortgage broker they know the correct wording and there is this lovely thing called closing costs, if you have the seller pay some of those they come out of your down payment.  Which meant I was happy because I had to arrive with less not more than I thought I needed to.  Once you actually sit in the office with the attorney and start closing on the house your hand starts to cramp you sign your name so many times but at the end the house was ours and it was so exciting!!

House Work (December/January): While we wanted to start moving right away and be in before the end of the year holidays and then all of us getting hit with that upper respiratory/stomach bug made that impossible so instead we decided lets get all of the painting all of the hard to do once living here tasks done before we even move in.  So we started being regulars at Lowes, when they not only recognize me, but the husband, and the parents they are getting to much of our money.  Things started getting added on to the list of to be done before moving in.  Discovering the little things the previous owner did like taking the attachments for the gas line to the dryer and that the gas line was tied to the wall with twine (yes this is a thing).  Or that they apparently wanted all of the cable tvs that they had so many wires they even had one literally stapled in the beams curled into a circle above the basement shower, it went to nothing but you know in case you ever wanted to hook up a tv in the shower that wire was there. Eventually the phase one list of things to do before we can move in got smaller, the painting got done, the things installed that needed to be installed and we were able to actually plan the move

Moving Part 3 (January/February):  We had two friends drive down and help us move, they helped load up a moving truck and after a couple trips we had mostly everything in our house.  While it would have been ideal to move in that very weekend with the option to not live in chaos with 4 month old some unpacking and organizing occurred before officially moving in.  We got internet set up so that hubs could move his office from my parents dining room into his new home office and we officially moved the first week of February.  I am still getting used to having to drop the little one off to my parents each morning and then going to work but its a schedule and we are glad to be officially in our home.

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Now it is time to start getting settled, it isn’t easy adjusting to being in our home but we are getting used to it.  I haven’t been to work late and little one seems to do fine with the daily drop off and pick ups to grandmas house so I can go to work.  Now its just slowly tackling boxes, and taking things to good will that need to be out of the house (so far three boxes of things already to goodwill and I am sure many many many more to go).  And I am well aware that I have yet to get everything out of my parents house they will probably continue to find our things for a while I mean we were living there for 3 months but it starting to feel like normal.  We are getting to read books to our kid more and back to playing board games again at night because we have access to them.  It is starting to feel a little more like life. 

I cant say that it is easy, I definitely feel very alone sometimes.  It isn’t as easy to meet people as an adult and a lot of friends growing up dont live here anymore.  Hubs has found himself a game group and he recently started writing again.  I hope now that life is slowly becoming a little more “normal” I can start getting back into things I like.  I got my baking cupboard now and am fully enjoying my access to all things baking.  I made my nephew a customized superman birthday cake that he requested complete with superman colored M&Ms inside.   

The other nephew keeps going back and forth on what he wants his cake to look like but he has a couple more weeks yet.  So far he has wanted Halo’s Master Chief, Five Nights of Freddy, Captain America Civil War, and a pigeon from his favorite authors stories.  I think the latest and most consistent is the pigeon but we will find out closer to the date if that’s what he wants.  I have also been able to make cinnamon swirl banana bread and am excited for many new things to try. 

Other updates include that I am back to watching what I eat I did so well eating healthy and not gaining an overly large amount during the pregnancy that moving back to home meant people by delicious ice cream and yummy food, it wasn’t easy.  So in combination and with support of the hubs and family I am back on a lifestyle plan that works for me and its been going well.  Down 1.8 lbs in a week which may not be a lot but it is better than 0.  I just have to make sure to eat more than junk food and enjoy what I am eating again.  I have a love hate relationship with food and its time to make it more love than hate.

I may also be a kickstarting addict now 4 games have been kickstarted in about a month.  If you don’t know what that is it is crowdfunding. I tend to focus towards the board games to kick start but they do a whole heck of a lot on there. 

I hope this is a good enough round up of the last couple of months and hopefully it makes some bit of sense.  Here is hoping it gets easier to do these things once I start getting more accustomed to my life. 

❤  Until next time   ❤

The waiting game

I know I have been struggling to keep this thing updated, but I never feel like I have anything interesting to write about.  As my due date is quickly approaching (3 days away…eeeek!!!) I have had to face some realities.  First, my priorities are drastically shifting,  second, I am not a patient person and waiting sucks, and third, its time to get focused when its going to be difficult to focus on anything.

On top of shifting priorities the month of August was physically and emotionally exhausting.  Ending July with probably one of the most stressful and awful work weeks for both my husband and I, one of the most important people came to visit for the first week of August and it was amazing, but so emotionally hard to have to once again say goodbye when he had to head back home :(.  Then we had a gaming weekend that caused me to stay up later and wake up earlier than any 8 month pregnant lady probably should.  These things were so amazing, and I wouldn’t have changed those plans but at the end I was drained, and just glad to have my house back.  One thing I did differently this time around was take breaks, I didn’t play every game just because people were there, I stepped out of the room and changed laundry or washed dishes just to give myself space when I was getting overwhelmed.  But there were definitely things I could have done better, but I will get to that in a different section of this post.  Once the week and a half of visitors was over I went straight into studying for my LCPC examination.  Basically a really big test that I stupidly gave myself less than a month of time to study for because I wanted it over with before the baby came.  So after work  I would come home and launch myself into hours of studying, I bought practice exams, study guides, and eventually when I was still doing awful on sections of the exam I bought an online study website subscription. Needless to say I was exhausted but I did PASS!!!! which was super exciting.  When I came home from that test I crashed, I was so drained that when a good friend called I remember briefly talking with her but was pretty sure I was half zombie.

Another stress going into August and the upcoming arrival of my first kid, was that the doctor I had had since I found out I was pregnant informed me that he was closing his practice, it was for wonderful reasons and I couldn’t be more excited for him and his next stage of his life, but I was terrified, I had one shot to find a doctor, that I liked,  that I could get into because there was no time to test out doctors.  I would have one month with this doctor before they would be delivering my child.  Luckily I had the pity/sympathy card of I am 8 months pregnant and my doctor just closed his practice please help, this got me into the doctor that came recommended the most and had a good health score on medical rating sites.  While I do like the new office, it definitely doesn’t feel the same, and I do miss my old doctor, at the end of the day its one month and what I can control is my attitude, so I am accepting the changes, even if I wished my original doctor was still part of my treatment.

As my due date comes ever so closer I have tried to fit social time into my rotation because I know that social life post baby is definitely different.  Some of my friends get it, we have low key bad movie nights, we chat about life and watch ridiculous movies that should never have been created, I am sorry how did anyone think Howard the Duck was worthy of being put onto screen.  These friends get it, they understand that friendships after kids, means putting in an effort, understanding that movie nights will have to involve snacks on the sofa after the kids are put to bed and chatting about life and everything that needs to be caught up on because you don’t get to see each other as much as you would like because life is chaotic and kids are the priority.

There are other groups where I love them, but sometimes I just wonder if the night was worth it in the end, wondering if something is wrong that the interaction went so poorly.  While this could be its very own gaming related blog post and probably will be when I remember to write again, I have had to shift how I interact with these types of nights.  I don’t like when my interactions with someone impacts another non-involved person.  This happens more often than I care to admit between me and one other person in this group because our brains think completely differently, we get enjoyment from games and interactions in completely different ways that are not compatible with one another.  I can take a lot, and I hate confrontation when it involves myself, but with this individual my mouth definitely runs away with me.  My husband describes it as me being a Hamilton (his reference to the Hamilton broadway show).  And while I initially was offended, I later realized he was 100% right.

It took me really thinking about what I can do about the situation to realize that I  will never be able to change how this person talks to me or talks to other people who think differently but I can change how I respond.  After a particular bad couple of interactions in a row  I was wondering if I could even be around this person without bringing down the group.  This sucked for me because I didn’t want to lose out on experiences with other people because I couldn’t positively interact with one individual.  So I changed my mindset, I changed how I looked a this person.  There was no changing them, but I could change my interactions.  In the advice of Aaron Burr, I needed to talk less and smile more.   So I gave it a go, and I stopped trying to persuade this individual to see a different side, and instead just did my own thing, and I think overall I did pretty okay, at least per my husbands report it was a much better interaction than previously.  I am still not sure long term if I will always be able to interact so positively, but I do know that one person isn’t worth me looking like a part of a negative filter.  (Definitely making a mental note for a blog about what to do when your gaming group enjoys games differently though).

To wrap this up I guess I am back to the waiting game aspect of this pregnancy, I can’t start any new projects because baby boy is on his way any day now, but the amount of boredom I am facing has caused me to go stir crazy.  Because my job normally involves so much driving across a 4-5 county radius and I was put on a don’t travel list a couple weeks ago because of his size I sit at the office.  Because my work isn’t putting a temporary replacement into my position while I am away I had to get everything done until the end of the year which means I don’t even have meaningless paperwork I can do :(.  I have found myself working on forms and organizing filing cabinets just to fill my time.  At home because my feet hurt and I am tired, I don’t start anything drastic because I would tire out and be cranky half way through.  When I can finally get that lovely caffeine back into my system I will be a very happy and energetic person (man I miss regular coffee, decaf is just not same).

I think this has rambled enough, hopefully I don’t go so far this time around before editing again, I have decided that there needs to be a small notebook of things I do that is full of blog posts and painting projects…to do list (buy small notebook).

Until next time 🙂

Reave

 

 

A long time coming

So I was told recently that I stopped writing on my blog, not even aware that anyone really checked if I had written I was both surprised at the timing (because I was already writing one) and sad that I let something slip so much.

I started this as a way to force myself to be productive, and then life happened.  I was playing a silly mobile game a lot (still am to be quiet honest, Game of War is an addiction) and hating work.  I’ve realized a couple of things in my time away from the blog; first I actually was doing more productive things that I enjoyed doing, second it kept me from just lounging around doing nothing, and third I kind of enjoy letting people know what is going on in my life.

So to address the first bit I haven’t actually done much of anything creative, I made a couple cute things for when a friend moved away because I was forcing myself to focus on anything other than being sad.  I was then hit with another friend moving away a month later and it was just not a great time for me.  The people I was closest with, spent most of my time with, just left and I was left feeling very lonely.  I am so proud of what they have accomplished moving away and how they have grown so quickly in their time away but part of me still gets a little rage-filled when all I want to do is play cards and all my card playing friends moved away.  Back to the creative bit, I haven’t done much baking, one because I was trying to not have a bunch of junk in the house and second its kind of boring to bake for one.  I did find some good recipes for quick cobblers and mastered a vanilla bean buttercream that I will use for every cupcake recipe ever now.

IMG_7953

Hopefully, with the gradual reorganization of our office space I will be more willing to get the craft supplies out, but I know I need to reinvest in some art supplies because I am not satisfied with the quality of the paint I have and I can’t switch to the great paints I do have because I don’t want to mix paint types or risk ruining my in progress projects with unfamiliar supplies.  Waiting for those lovely sales at Hobby Lobby so I can just buy all new acrylic paint.

Projects that are partially completed:

  • A friends Harry Potter wand stand (yes I know I’m sorry I don’t have the right red right now)
  • Le Petit Prince painting of the baobob trees
  • Sun in stars quote painting from Game of Thrones (the moon portion is completed already)

To address the second part about what this blog was doing; it kept me from being lazy.  When I lost my main social experience I realized I had all of these friends who I wasn’t interacting with so I was really lonely.  Then I eventually started realizing; ‘hey these are great people stop sitting around doing nothing and hang out with them’.  Once this happened I have been hanging out more with them, trying to have regular bad movie nights with memorable quotes.  If you haven’t seen the movie The Room, not the new one, but the old one just watch it for a good laugh with friends.  You will be both stupified about how this movie existed, and thrilled to have quotes to say with friends.

Otherwise, I have been just lounging around a lot and lately it has been with good reason as lots of big changes are coming around, no one really prepares you for how tired you are while you are pregnant (hint: the answer is tired…all the time tired).  So now with work taking up 8 hours a day and trying to sleep enough to be healthy, I get approximately 4.5 hours where I try to be human and spend time with people.  I haven’t always succeeded; but I am playing board games with the dear husband, computer games with friends, and then doing puzzles and trying to keep my mind active otherwise.  Although sometimes I do need to nap; really do regret all my hatred for naps growing up.

So Third; as I kind of let it known in the above one I enjoy letting people know what is going on in my life.  When we decided we wanted kids we never expected it to happen so quickly, and well I have had to learn a lot about things that were never on my radar. Like how maternity leave in the U.S. is awful and how day care is so expensive.  We were planning to make some career and location changes prior to having the little one (we don’t know the gender until May) but after learning about maternity leave, Family Medical Leave, and basically loving my doctor that got put on hold.  For now I am just relying on my friends to keep me sane; those who have done it before have been good about not giving advice.  If we want advice we will ask; and trust me  I have complain asked people questions plenty.

As I have talked about before I have always struggled to lose weight so I freaked out initially about diet and not wanting to gain to much wait or just look fat.  Yes, my husband does scold me when I frown because my clothes don’t fit right anymore and I say I feel like a whale.  It is hard to get out of the mindset of being so negative about self image.  The funny thing about this entire thing is  I feel as if I have been eating better than ever before.  I found that eating every couple of hours and becoming more of a grazer I don’t deal with food crashes.  I actually hydrate more this way, and surprisingly I have been losing weight so far throughout my pregnancy which my doctor is happy to see since it was because of eating healthy not because of nausea (which FYI this little baby was kind and let me skip that awful side effect).

I don’t know what else is really going on, besides baby is on the way.

Proudly I want to say that my husbands second book in the series is out so please go read it; it is available in the kindle library and kindle unlimited I believe.  Twisted Cogs: A students Dream is the first one…seriously go read it.

Music: Hamilton the Musical – I can’t really pick one song because I like so many of them.  I don’t much care for American History but this musical is a hip hop telling of Alexander Hamilton and it is phenomenal.  If you like history or like musicals just take a listen.  It is so catchy.

Food: I have recently been liking Dannon Light and Fit greek yogurt with Granola (sorry nothing creative there for now).

Art: I wish I had stuff to show but I don’t hopefully next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C is for Cookie

Wow I have been putting off writing again, and I know that is awful but with everything being all chaotic and lifey I knew I wouldn’t be able to write a blog without it getting sad.  I haven’t played much of anything besides Game of War which continues to absorb an unhealthy amount of my time.  However, I have met some extraordinary people that I couldn’t imagine not talking to everyday.  With one of the best people I have ever known moving away I definitely feel lost, but since this is not a sad post lets get on with the post for today.

COOKIES I mean not just any cookies but Semi-Sweet/White Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I love baking and the only reason I don’t bring it out more is because my waist line doesn’t need the cookie batter.  However, I wanted to bake for some special people in my life, so with a new apron, a couple parcel boxes and some baking chips later I was ready to set a date for baking.  That date was today 🙂

(This was made as a double recipe) so half everything if you just want to make a normal batch)

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

Set up

2) You will need the following

Ingredients

3) Soften butter and put into mixer with granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla then mix

Step 1

4) Add eggs one at a time mixing after each one

Egg

5) In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda

Flour

6) SLOWLY (to avoid the flour bomb) mix in flour

Flour 2

7) Add one bag at a time continue to mix of the white chocolate and semi-sweet baking chips

Casualty

(I had a casualty in the process, spatula you served me well)

8) Using a spoon or however you wish to measure out your cookies, put 12 cookies per pan allowing room for cookies to spread.

ScoopingCookies

9) Put in oven for 9-13 minutes.  I usually start at 9 and then add time as needed.  Today the oven was agreeable and each batch was done perfectly and evenly at 11 minutes.

Batch 1

10) Let them cool for 1 or 2 minutes before transferring them to cooling sheets.  I have stackable ones but instead used them side by side putting paper towels underneath for easy clean up.

Yummy

11) Once the cookies are done eat and enjoy, I am choosing to ship these cookies off this time and I hope they enjoy them.  I learned that if you stick a piece of bread into the bag with the cookies it will keep the cookies softer, so for those receiving cookies in the mail this week that is why.

In the mail

I know this isn’t the healthiest recipe ever but I love baking.  I am sure you can low-cal this down and if I were to be making them for myself I would have used Truvia baking sugar to decrease the sugar content.  However, I don’t like to shove healthy versions on people.  These cookies are the softest cookies I make and they stay chewy for days (without the assistance of bread)

~Reave

I am listening to Yiruma and Pentatonix right now for my listening to suggestions.

I am finally watching Doctor Who and DareDevil I love them both

I am lacking in the recipe department, but I do love that I have fresh jalepenos growing in my garden.  I do also enjoy the Kikkoman Garlic Ginger Teriyaki sauce.  Purchase it and fall in love.

I don’t have any art to show you guys right now, sorry 😦